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Belated honor coming to 99 year old D-Day survivor - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Belated honor coming to 99 year old D-Day survivor

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SHREVEPORT, La - At age 99, and almost 70 years after D-Day, it's a belated honor for one of those brave men who stormed ashore in World War II.  John Carpenter of Shreveport has a unique story.

Not all of the 5,000 ships on D-Day were military.  Other boats were used.  Anything to get 160-thousand men ashore at Normandy.  Carpenter got there with 150 others on a big British fishing boat.

"Come our time to land we just pulled up to Omaha Beach and climbed over the side of the ship. Pretty rough," Carpenter remembers about climbing down a net ladder.

And not all the men were real young.  Carpenter was the ol' sergeant to those teenagers.
 
"I was 29 years old. Most of them were half my age, kids that lied to get into the service," Carpenter says. "They just went crazy.

 "When I got in a foxhole, they'd get up around me, thinking I could help them. I was just as scared as they were," Carpenter says. "The Germans were shelling all the time. Cannon and you could hear the machine guns and all that."

Once air strips were secured, Carpenter went about his job of keeping aircraft supplied with parts.  He kept advancing with our troops through France and into Germany, earning a Bronze Star.

And the medals keep coming. Carpenter has been notified that he's soon to receive the French Legion Medal of Honor.

"Fantastic! 70 years!" Carpenter says of the long overdue honor.  

Having grown up on a farm in Ohio and seeing planes overhead, Carpenter wanted to learn to fly when he joined the service in 1935.  A crash during training ended his flying career -- but not his life -- thanks to a tree that cushioned the impact.

Then came war duty in aircraft supply.

After the war, Carpenter returned to Barksdale and put in 38 more years as a civilian.  He's proud of it all.

"Anybody who doesn't want to do something for their country shouldn't be here," he says.

Carpenter not only served our military all those years.  He also served our community, helping found the Northwest Louisiana Food Bank in 1997.
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